Kristen Bell is giving one high school musical cast from 20 years ago the chance for a nationally televised Encore!
The actress, who currently stars on NBC’s acclaimed The Good Place, has teamed with ABC and creator Jason Cohen (Silicon Cowboys) to executive-produce a novel new TV special that reunites old classmates to perform their high school musical one last time. Will Gluck, director of Easy A and the movie musical Annie, is backing the project via his Olive Bridge Entertainment.
EW has learned exclusively that Encore! will premiere Dec. 10 on ABC, and will feature former students reprising their roles from their original production of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods, only now under the guidance of Broadway directors, choreographers, and voice coaches. ABC has also confirmed to EW that Bell will appear in the special.
“My first high school musical was a watershed moment, changing the way I experienced the world from thereafter and I often think, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to re-live that?’” Bell said in a statement. “I wanted to produce Encore! to help others re-experience their days on stage and re-discover the distinct bonding that comes with high school theatre. Our show is about converging past dreams with present circumstances and I hope viewers can laugh and see themselves among the insurance salesman, the pregnant woman, and the rest of the classmates as they tackle Sondheim.”
For Bell, who played Dorothy in her high school production of The Wizard of Oz and has appeared in The Crucible and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer on Broadway, Encore! marks her most significant undertaking as a producer. She previously backed the follow-up Veronica Mars movie as an executive producer, and co-produced her husband Dax Shepard’s 2012 film Hit and Run.
Encore! is the latest in a line of high school musical TV projects. In addition to cultural phenomena like High School Musical and Glee, NBC will soon premiere Rise, Jason Katims’ drama series based on the life of high school theater teacher Lou Volpe.
Encore! premieres Dec. 10 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.